Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today applauded the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $8.4 million grant to the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The city will use this grant to make flood control infrastructure improvements needed to protect businesses and make the region resilient to future natural disasters. The EDA grant, which will be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with more than $2 million in local investment and is expected to create 95 jobs.
“Southwest Iowa saw in 2019 the devastating effects that flooding can have on communities,” Grassley said. “The 2019 floods and the years of floods before that have shown how valuable good mitigation and control infrastructure can be for our communities. Thankfully, the Economic Development Administration has awarded an $8.4 million grant to Council Bluffs for improvements to flood control infrastructure. These resources will help prepare us for and prevent disasters in the future.”
“Iowa continues to leverage federal resources to help local communities not only to plan for the next natural disaster, but be prepared to withstand it, and recover more quickly in the future,” Governor Kim Reynolds said. “We’re grateful to Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration for their partnership from the very beginning in response to severe flooding that devastated communities in southwest Iowa.” “The Trump Administration continues to work diligently to rebuild communities devastated by natural disasters, including the flooding that ravaged Iowa in spring of 2019,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “This critical infrastructure improvement project will protect Council Bluffs’ businesses and industries, as well as strengthen economic resilience should future natural disasters impact the area.”
“This investment will provide improvements to the city of Council Bluffs’ levee system to include the addition of robust seepage and stability beams,” Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development said. “The upgrades to the flood risk reduction system will ensure prior and future economic investments in the city will remain effective and contribute to overall economic growth in the nearby region and Opportunity Zone.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
The funding announced today will catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, which was endorsed by Grassley. That legislation provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act.